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Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin (updated 2022)

Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

Microneedling punctures your skin and undermines the protective barrier,
causing sudden changes in the structure of your skin that it then has to repair.

Lately, it seems that everyone is turning to microneedling, and who can blame them?

It’s the hottest trend in beauty right now and seems to be the answer to many skin-related woes.

While scare-mongering isn’t our philosophy, we have been inundated with emails which you can read below.

Many of our readers have been physically and psychologically scarred due to a poorly performed treatment.

So we have put together this article to raise awareness of the risks associated with a microneedling facial.

We’ll look at some case studies, the contraindications that can prevent the treatment, and how to treat your skin if complications arise. Let’s get started!

The Misconceptions

They Say: Microneedling is a collagen-stimulating treatment that uses needles to injure the skin; this stimulates collagen and elastin production; improving skin texture, pores, and fine lines. (1)

Naked Chemist Truth: Microneedling tears through the epidermis – your outer layer of skin and creates tiny puncture marks that play havoc with your skin’s natural defence mechanisms, which have to work hard to repair these tiny micro-tears through collagen induction, thus causing a whole host of skin conditions.
It does not tighten your skin; it swells your skin: You must understand the concept, ‘needling promotes skin collagen’. Because you’re temporarily injuring your skin, undermining the protective barrier. That tightening effect you experience after the treatment is plump, swollen skin.
It does not create a glowing complexion: The ‘lit-from-within’ glow you are experiencing is inflammation, which we believe is the source of premature ageing; it is a big NO in our book.

This is a Painful Procedure

Even a 0.2mm puncture can cause inflammatory responses that lead to problems at any depth. Not only that, but you are effectively injecting active serums at a depth where serums are not meant to go!

Bottom line: If your skin is impaired, red, dry, inflamed, or you have acne inflammation, it requires a super-healthy skin response, and if it is stressed at all, you are almost certainly at risk of damage. (2, 3)


Clemmy from London wrote: “Help, my skin looks worse after microneedling. The treatment felt like it shredded my skin beneath the surface, my once perfect skin is ruined and I feel like I could cry, it has lost all firmness and support. I know it has been structurally damaged. I’ve had such a bad reaction it flared up. It was awful. I looked grazed all over I didn’t want to leave the house for ages after 6 months it is only just recovering, I had no idea about the risks of microneedling”

Jen from Australia wrote:“After having numerous tests (I had to go back to the hospital a second time because they didn’t take enough blood the first time) the blood test results were normal so no autoimmune disorders which are good. I have had 25 pages of blood test results as my dermatologist was very thorough and he has figured out what this is due to the side effects of microneedling with PRP, I am devestated. He believes I have solid facial edema, very rare. I am now on roaccutane & may need to be on it for 1-2 years, although my skin is responding this will be a very long battle to get rid of this. I’m completely shattered. I would NEVER recommend micro needling to anyone, in fact, I warn all my friends about the micro needling risks so they never suffer the way I am. Your Bio lipid has been a lifesaver I refer to it as liquid gold.”

Quick side notes: We recommend avoiding peels, lasers, or active topicals to reverse the damage done.

Instead, work to rebuild your barrier function and balance your delicate micro-flora with skin-identical ingredients that are missing, bringing your skin’s pH back into balance holistically, which equates to healthy skin.

Angela, a client, experienced the following: “I am 43 and the derma roller results have left my face inflamed, as a result I am battling severe facial burning. My once smooth skin is sensitive and my pores are enlarged? I have been to a few dermatologists who have no idea what to do.Your advice and skincare are helping to rebuild my skin I can’t thank you enough, I just wish I had known about these microneedling side effects earlier.”

Marian from the USA wrote: “Micro rolling seriously destroyed my skin. It left bumps and holes on my face and apparently requires total resurfacing, which I am scared to have. It has dried out my skin and created strange horizontal lines I did not previously have, In short, microneedling at home is UNSAFE do not attenpt it.”

Nancy from Australia wrote: “The photo is the day after microneedling, you can see my face is very swollen and Ithere are scratch-like marks, You can clearly see the track marks I was shaking during the procedure, I should have known something was wrong then and I even had brusing. I was told to do a course of peels to get rid of the lines and this sent my skin into inflammation mode. Today my skin has tiny holes and lines in it? With your help, it has been slowly repairing, but it has been a long road. 


For those of you who commented, thank you for sharing, and we hope together we can help to rebuild the health of your skin through a well-thought-out skincare routine.

If you are unfortunate enough to have suffered a severe reaction, below we look at what can go wrong and why; that way, you will connect the dots and understand what you can do to repair your skin.

Not everyone should have this treatment because it can do irreparable damage; this study (4) looks at some people who suffered severe granulose infection due to this treatment.

The article 10 devastating side effect of micro needle treatment, looks at more case studies and photos from our readers.

Avoid Microneedling if you Have These Contraindications

  • sunburn
  • diabetes
  • keloid scarring
  • cigarette smoker
  • Roaccutane user
  • signs of active infection
  • sensitive or impaired skin
  • eczema or dermatitis sufferers
  • very dark or unstable skin type
  • 1, 2, or 3 on the Fitzpatrick scale
  • autoimmune problems such as Lupus
  • if you have had a topical treatment like peels or laser in the last 12 weeks

In a nutshell, anything that will affect your skin’s natural healing ability.

What to do if Your Skin is Damaged

We get asked a lot: will my skin ever return to normal?

Fortunately, there is hope; you can heal your skin damaged by microneedling, but how long it takes will depend on the damage done. Some heal in 6 to 12 weeks, in line with cellular turnover. For others, it can take longer, but with the correct treatment protocol and effective ingredients, it is achievable.

Keep it pure, keep it simple is our mantra when treating your skin after a damaging micro-needling session; implement a consistent skincare regime with gentle topicals that are barrier repairing.

You want to keep inflammation out of your skin, so avoid using actives like Vitamin C, Vitamin A and peptides unless the formula contains skin-strengthening copper peptides.

We prepare their skin with high molecular hyaluronic acid at least four weeks before treatment and ask them to stop using other skincare products for our in-clinic clients. Otherwise, you don’t know what they are using that might thin their skin and increase the risk of infection during treatment.

We recommend only using a high molecular hyaluronic during the procedure and after for at least a few days (providing the skin has settled down). Yet it is frustrating that many skincare specialists recommend active products such as vitamin C. Why? At the end of the day, why use it when your barrier function is impaired?

Aftercare in the form of serums containing aloe vera and snail slime is often prescribed. Yet, these extracts contain microbes that can upset your skin’s microbiome and cause infection. Instead, strip your skincare back and use a high molecular weight hyaluronic acid such as H2O Hydrating Complex.

Another question raised is, can I use retinol after microneedling? Until your protective barrier function repairs, we recommend avoiding retinol; as discussed, better alternatives will help rebuild a thin, fragile skin.

Skin identical ingredients like ceramides, cholesterol, and lipids found naturally in your skin will help reconstruct your barrier function and replenish those depleted ingredients because of the treatment.

We recommend the article derma rolling ingredients into your skin for more information regarding the treatment protocol.

Treating Complications after Microneedling

  • keep copies of records and take before and after photos
  • if you have any hormonal or other issues affecting your healing, an endocrinologist may be able to help you
  • if your skin is not healing after stripping back your routine, it may indicate an infection; this is an invasive therapy, you are sticking needles into your skin, and infection is common. b
  • book an appointment with a dermatologist and request a bacterial culture or swab to be done on your skin; a small biopsy can also be carried out for “tissue culture” to look for deeper or unusual bacteria or other organisms
  • if there is any question of skin allergy, especially if a lot of chemicals were micro needled into your skin, an allergist may be able to help

We are seeing an increase in people who undertake a course of invasive treatments to heal their skin after micro-needling, including 6-week courses of peels and laser treatment which, if not performed correctly, can keep on burning deep in the dermis,

Avoid using a combination of treatments and energy-based devices like laser, as burns are also at risk.

The only medical aftercare treatment we recommend is red light therapy performed by an experienced skin specialist who talks the same language. Who understands the role of your barrier function and the delicate microbiome when it comes to skin health. Avoid the handle held device you can use at home.

If Your Still Considering Micro needling

If all of this does sound alarming, but you still want to undertake a microneedling treatment, below is our checklist that you can use pre, post and during treatment:

  • know your skin type and where on the Fitzgerald scale it fits into
  • ensure your skincare specialist has a lot of experience. We have seen clients who’ve sustained iatrogenic injuries or scarring as a result of dragging over the skin
  • get a thorough consultation and that your practitioner discusses the post-treatment protocol with you
  • make sure they understand how to prep the skin and what products are used during and after post-treatment
  • make sure that your skincare specialist is using good hygiene practices (5) 
  • do listen to your skin! We are all metabolically different. If you feel your skin is compromised, don’t embark on any invasive treatment, not just facial needling
  • do make sure you take close-up photos of your skin beforehand; if the practitioner involved decides to try and deny responsibility, you will have proof
  • use quality products to repair and protect your skin – remember less is best
  • avoid microneedling home treatments because so much can go wrong


Microneedling results are varied; it can disrupt your protective barrier and increases the penetration of active ingredients into your skin. (6)

While we appreciate this may sound counter-intuitive because needling is all about better product penetration, when active ingredients go into your dermis where all the active blood vessels are, irritation increases.

Side effects, contraindications, and complications while derma rolling has many side effects, including bleeding, slight bruising, redness, dryness, and skin flakiness. You may also experience more severe side effects such as permanent scarring and indentations or hyper and hypo-pigmentary changes in your skin.

Infection doesn’t always look like you think, such as swelling, pus, and redness. Some infections can appear more subtle; your skin might be staying irritated, and it’s just not healing. This is because your body’s immune system is holding the offending bacteria, fungus, or virus in partial check but isn’t strong enough to eliminate it – so inflammation bubbles away under the surface of your skin.
Allergic or irritant reactions can range from barely visible to extreme ongoing pain and itching; pain associated with this treatment should be temporary and last no longer than a day.
Redness and texture changes are common, as treatment plumps, the skin, increasing blood flow and collagen, but should reduce in a few days.

The bottom line. Be careful with how you treat your skin; you have a responsibility to care for the primary organ that protects you every second of your life.

354 thoughts on “Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin (updated 2022)

  1. Tal says:

    I had micro needling done a month ago with a Skinpen at 0.25 depth around the eye area. I Used the Skinfuse lift Hg hyalauronic acid hydrogel from Bellus Medical, that was given to me by my provider. I started incorporating Cerave Healing Ointment and Vanicream Moisturizer on the 2nd and 3rd day, as my provider instructed. On the fourth day, I woke up to skin that looked like all the moisture had been sucked out of it, quite like a raisin. I noticed tram track marks and new little holes everywhere. Since then, the skin around my eyes has been very crepey looking. The tram tracks are starting to look a little better, but the crinkly skin remains. I’ve been using the Skinfuse Hydrogel, Skinbetter Trio rebalancing moisture treatment or Eucerin Advanced Repair, and cerave healing ointment. I honestly sometimes even use lard or tallow, which has been absolutely incredible in healing my dehydrated skin in the past. My skin is at a point where it doesn’t feel sensitive at all, it just looks like a crinkly mess, almost like there’s a layer of Saran Wrap on top. Both a different esthetician and a cosmetic dermatologist have suggested dermaplaning or a diamond glow facial to help shed the excess dead skin build up so that the hydrating ingredients can better penetrate the skin. They both said they can see dead skin build up, or “skin flakes” that aren’t shedding.

    As I’ve mentioned, I’ve actually had experience with really dehydrated skin before, where it had been burning and stinging, and I was able to get it to a point where it didn’t hurt anymore by using barrier repairing ingredients (ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids) But the crepey texture didn’t get better until I had a microdermabrasion facial and started using lard. Seriously. After the facial, it immediately started getting better, and then the addition of lard a few weeks later made everything heal in a matter of days. I also noticed the tram track markings I have now from micro needling started getting better after I added lard back into the mix. But my skin is still so crinkly. I’m worried there’s been too much damage done for it to heal properly.

    With that being said, I have two questions for you.

    1. What do you think of the recommended treatments? (Dermaplaning and diamond glow facial) especially at one month out? My skin barrier doesn’t feel damaged, just looks crinkly and crepey. Not sure if these are wise solutions or if I need to wait to do them?

    2. Have you been able to help anyone with crepey skin from micro needling restore their skin texture?

    I’m only 30, and had really smooth, plump skin before. The rest of my face still looks nice, but the eye area looks 10 years older. This has been really distressing, especially reading other people’s stories, but what I’m really looking for is some hope. I’d really like to know if you’ve had success restoring crinkly, crepey skin after micro needling.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi so sorry you are exeriencing this with your skin, these symptoms are sadly not uncommon….. moisture had been sucked out of it, tram track marks and small holes and thinning skin around the eyes We really would not recommend further topical treatment that is invasive that will damage your barrier function. Instead, your skin requires a careful measured gentle approach to your skincare routine, that will gently exfoliate, heal, calm and soothe. If you require a recommendation please reach out to me personally with pictures at

  2. Laura says:

    Since microneedling and prp treatment i have developed roscea with acne like pimples all over my face and neck. The dermatologist insists it is from topical products but it seems like all cleansers moisturiser and sunscreen are causing these flare ups which then last for a week. Is it possible that microneedling can cause roseca even if you have never had it before? It is really affecting my quality of life and self esteem and cannot seem to find anyone that has experience with this

  3. kunjan says:

    I did my micro-needling session for my acne scars as the doctor recommended it and the first session gave tremendous results my acne reduced my skin felt and looked smooth but the scares were not completely gone so the doctor recommended another session and I gladly did It but this time a deeper needle was used. After that day I am living a nightmare
    I got infection after the session my whole face was covered in inflamed bumps and rash and I even got eczema around my eyes which I never had until after the session . The doctor prescribed antibiotics and other medication and after a month the inflation slowly decreased But my skin is messed up it’s so textured. And when i consult my doctor, he says it’s purging and that is taking time to heal but it’s been almost 2 months of the treatment but it still won’t go. I’m still on antibiotics, the rashes have died down but left behind texture and still itches now and than.
    So, I don’t want to recommend this treatment.
    Now, All I am doing and can do I wait until my skin barriers heals itself which is devastating and depressing.

  4. Andrew says:

    Hi there, had an aggressive microneedling treatment done almost 4 months ago. Very painful, caused bruising, and took a while for the trauma to heal up. Four days after the treatment, the redness died down enough for me to be able to inspect my skin a little closer. I was disturbed by the all the holes all over my face that “connect” when my face moves, creating fine lines. There’s been no improvement. Went to a derm and she told me the “holes” are enlarged pores and that I should try Accutane (currently on low dose, about 2.5 months in, no noticeable effect yet). In your experience, are the “holes” people experience after microneedling just enlarged pores as my derm said, or are they puncture scars from the device? It would seem that a few days post treatment would be very soon for scarring to form, but wanted your take on this. Your help is appreciated! Life just hasn’t been the same since this “treatment”.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi, Andrew very very sorry to hear about your skin, its hard to say we have seen a mixture of both, if the skin is already fragile then it appears that the treatment can cause holes in the skin, equally it can also enlarge pores so its a double edged sword I am afraid to say.

  5. Anna says:

    I‘m shocked to read all the negative comments and I feel sorry for everyone who had a bad experience. But in my case, I‘ve only had positive effects from microneedling. I‘ve had 2 professional sessions done by a medical beautician (2 years apart from each other) and some sessions by myself at home. It has had a minor but positive effect on my acne scarring on the forehead & gives me an overall healthy glow (not only while being swollen, but afterwards). I think that the negative experiences could stem from working with a inexperienced practitioner/aggressively & wrong done procedure/wrong skin type/procedure being done too often. There‘re many studies which prove a positive effect if done correctly. No cosmetic procedure is completely safe and something for everyone. It’s the same with medication – some might experience side effect and some don’t. I respect that you’re educating about possible risks though! People should be heard & hope everyone recovers from whatever damage they were caused.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi Anna. Thank you for your feedback. As you can see negative outweighs the positive and quite why people have these reactions we are not sure. Infection, wrong product recommendations, underlying conditions, genetics and poor treatment protocol we believe are the reasons why so many have a bad experience. And with more treatments being offered with few regulations at this stage, we believe things will get worse until microneedling is regulated.

    • daniellap says:

      Hi Anna,
      I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with microneedling until recently. I had one session done with a different provider who had great reviews. I have mild rosacea which was disclosed in the paperwork and suffered a bad reaction- now have permanent red and irritated patches on both cheeks which were not there before. I have tried to contact the provider for a solution- purchased skin care upon recommendation to assist with healing. Basically, everything I now put on my face further aggravates the skin and they just dismiss my concerns and not willing to negotiate. Also very pricey compared to other clinic I previously had it done. Will be keeping away from these treatments in the future.

      • Samantha Miller says:

        Hi Anne. So very sorry to hear about your experience it’s not uncommon. The clinic really should be at the very least offering you some red light therapy to help heal your skin. We recommend going back to the clinic.

        • daniellap says:

          Hi Samantha,
          The clinic I went to recommended I use their sunscreen daily and recovery cream, which contains actives every second night for the next 3 weeks. As these products cause further skininflammation, I have been using samples of La Roche Posay Soothing Repairing Balm and intense dermalogical moisturiser from my local priceline until my products arrive.

          • Samantha Miller says:

            It’s just a lack of correct training and awareness for a lot of salons, you really do have to become your own label detective. Sunscreen is always a good idea however minus actives and not a high SPF which can irritate an already sensitised skin.

        • daniellap says:

          Hi Samantha,

          The red light therapy definitely helps reduce inflammation. I have previously combined this with microneedling in the past, however I will be much more vigilant when seeking beauty treatments. Thanks for sharing helpful advice and articles on your website.


          • Samantha Miller says:

            Hi Daniella thank you for reaching out, really pleased you enjoyed the articles. As you can see from all the comments this treatment really needs to be carefully regulated but it isn’t at this stage, so if we can do our bit to bring awareness to the downside of this treatment then we have done our bit in a bid to help people with their skin health. Red light therapy is the only treatment we would recommend to heal the skin after micro needling to reduce inflammation. less is really best.

    • Kay says:

      thanks Anna, I also have positive (albeit minor) effects from microneedling. I have scars on my forehead and temples, do you know how deep you/the professionals go in that area?

  6. Kaitlyn says:

    This makes so much sense! As someone healing from acne scarring, steering away from microneedling … what are thoughts on chemical peels and lasers? Please help.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi Kaitlyn

      Our philosophy is why break down the protective barrier function and upset the delicate microflora of the acid mantle in order to treat your skin its counter-intuitive? Why not work to maintain this with sensible well thought out products that will help to treat skin conditions and ward of ageing. Remember a lot of ageing concerns are caused by inflammation..I hope this makes sense and helps Samantha

  7. Suzy says:

    I developed papulopustular rosacea this year which I strongly believe is linked to microneedling I had at the beginning of this year. I have been put on solantra (horrible reaction to it), low dose antibiotics, and now retin-a as nothing before seemed to work. You write here to avoid any active ingredients and that anything that inflames the skin can cause it to age prematurely. Does that mean I should stop my retinoic acid treatment? From what I read it has inflammatory component to it and it definitely is a strong active substance. Will it actually make my skin age and worsen my condition with time? I am not trusting dermatologists much these days as my first microneedling treatment was done by a dermatologist and many derm salons perform this treatment routinely. I think they should be more honest about this procedure being absolutely horrible for your skin.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi, Suzy really sorry to hear about your skin. Microneedling can cause inflammation and a whole host of side effects, but it is a double-edged sword if your getting a good reaction from it don’t stop taking it then. It’s hard to find a good dermatologist don’t just settle for second best.

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